On March 4 and 5, Kitsap County Fairgrounds will be filled with more than 60 vendors selling new and vintage wares at Josephine’s Redeemed Festival. Hosted by Josephine’s Redeemed Boutique, the event, in a way, is a tribute to owner Samantha Smith’s grandmother.
While sitting with Samantha Smith in Josephine’s Redeemed Boutique in Annapolis, I realized that items from the past could have a certain essence, a trigger for memories, sometimes vague and sometimes vivid.
How many times do we put aside an old, broken watch or a last remaining plate from a set rather than throwing it out? We can’t let them go because of a connection we feel, as if a little tendril tethers these things to us and makes them more than a simple object.
It’s impossible to walk through Josephine’s Redeemed Boutique without noticing something that catches the eye and reaches out for recognition — not only because Samantha has taken such care, first in choosing the items themselves, but also in how they are displayed and how comfortable and inviting the space is in her little world of remembrance.
Samantha strives to create a place for her clientele where they can find a piece that will bring a smile or a warm feeling, a piece that will give personality to a corner table or a bookshelf in their homes. She wants all who enter her store to “live inspired and dream big,” which is what her grandmother, Josephine, taught her.
Samantha’s inspiration for her enterprise came from a lifetime with her grandmother, who saved and repurposed everything from mason jars to buttons. The buttons would become jewelry, decorations on a mirror or Christmas ornaments. Josephine had grown up in the Depression era and knew the value of thrift and creativity.
She was stern and tough but in a loving way that let others know she only wanted the best for them. She took in foster children, often the older ones who could be more difficult, and when possible, worked with the families so they could be together again.
She made them sock monkeys, ABC books and quilts from her own family’s outgrown clothes. She wanted to bless other people and improve their lives.
Samantha said she had “no other way to honor her” but to open her own store. Samantha has filled an old building, built literally on the water in the Annapolis area of Port Orchard, with inspiring items that create a sense of connection to the past and to her grandmother’s life.
The building itself is part of that connection. It was renovated as a mercantile in 1934 and served the large, busy community of Annapolis through World War II and beyond. By the time Samantha found it in June 2013, it had fallen into disrepair. The more she learned about its history as a market and meeting place in the past, the more she felt it had the perfect personality for her dream of creating a place to share the treasures she redeemed, the treasures that would honor her grandmother’s legacy.
From the old, wood ironing board she uses as a table to hold unique glass jars to the “Man Cave” with its vintage horse harness, gas cans and fishing poles, Samantha has constructed a fitting tribute to Josephine.